Consumer News Archive - December 2018

We're committed to providing the latest and best news and information in order to help you become a better, more informed consumer.

Whether it's a safety recall affecting your vehicle, a recall for a product in your home, or a new scam that's making the rounds, we feature it here.

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December 2018

Gift Cards

Here's How You Can Cash in on Those Unwanted Gift Cards You Got for Christmas

People often receive gift cards from people they don't know too well. While the thought is nice, there's a good chance it will be to a store you never visit. Even if the gift card is for your favorite store, there's a chance you'll forget about it. If you have an unwanted gift card, you have a few options for cashing in.

Wrapped Gifts

5 Easy Tips for Returning Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts Without the Usual Hassle

We've all been there. You had a great holiday spending time with friends and family—yet you're left with a gift or two that you simply don't want or can't use. So what do you do with them? Do you take the time to return your unwanted gifts, re-gift them to someone else, or hide them away in the back of a closet somewhere?


Check These Things Before the End of the Year to Be Ready to File Your Taxes

With Christmas just two weeks away, the last thing on everyone's mind is filing taxes. But even though the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax filing deadline is still months away, there are a few things you should look at now to make sure you're ready before the year ends. Once the new year begins, your ability to influence your 2018 taxes is very limited.

Jet on Tarmac

Tips to Help You and Your Family Survive the Hectic Holiday Travel Season

Christmas is right around the corner, and so is the travel that comes with it. Whether or not you're thrilled about the prospect of traveling during the holiday season, there are some things you can do to make your travel less of a headache. Before you get in the car or arrive at the airport, check out these tips.

VW Wheel

Volkswagen and Audi Recall: Parts Now Available for Cracked Fuel Pump Flanges

Volkswagen is recalling certain 2007-2012 Audi Q7 and 2009-2012 Audi Q5 vehicles previously recalled. About 5,987 vehicles were previously repaired with an interim repair of installing butyl tape to the fuel pump flange until replacement remedy parts became available. Parts are now available and will be installed on these vehicles.

VW Logo

Volkswagen Recalls Several Models With Software That Does Not Warn of Key Left in Ignition

Volkswagen is recalling 2018-2019 Volkswagen Atlas and Tiguan and 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles that do not have keyless entry. The instrument cluster may not provide an audible warning to let the driver know that the key is still in the ignition when the door is open.


Protect Your Pets From Poisonous Plants Often Used in Holiday Decor

We don't often think about the toxicity of indoor plants when we decorate during the holidays, but it's something you should be thinking about if you have pets. Many plants used in holiday decor, such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, are toxic to dogs, cats and other animals. If a curious pet ingests even a small amount of a toxic plant, your pet can become ill or even die.

Ford Wheel

Ford Expands Recall of Focus Vehicles for Clutch That May Fracture and Damage Transmission

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Ford Focus vehicles equipped with a 1.0L Fox GTDI engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. The clutch may fracture, resulting in damage to the transmission assembly and possibly a transmission fluid leak. This recall is an expansion of Recall 18V-169. About 2,828 vehicles are affected by this latest recall.


FTC Settlements Will Ban Student Loan Debt Relief Operators From Engaging in Debt Relief Services

The operators of two Florida-based student loan debt relief schemes are banned from the debt relief business as part of agreements settling Federal Trade Commission allegations that they collected illegal upfront fees and falsely promised to help some consumers enroll in government programs that would reduce or forgive their student loan debt.

Tax Forms

Fraudulent Tax-Related Emails Are Once Again Making the Rounds Trying to Steal Your Money and Information

It's not even tax time, but criminals have already started targeting unsuspecting taxpayers with phishing emails and other emails designed to download malware. The latest emails appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are signed "Department of Treasure," and have a Microsoft Word document attached that appears at first glance to be a tax transcript.

Cell Phone

Avoid These Battery Charging and Battery Saving Myths With Your Smartphone

As a smartphone battery gets older, its ability to hold a charge decreases. When this happens, we're looking for the best ways to extend battery life and hold a charge longer. But there are a bunch of myths going around about smartphone batteries that do little more than waste your time.

Stop Sign

Online Security: Tips to Protect Yourself Whenever Making Online Purchases

It can be a nearly impossible task to know exactly who you're dealing with when conducting any business online. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are still working hard to take advantage of you, and the tactics and technology they use is constantly evolving. While it's not possible to stop using the Internet these days, it is possible to protect yourself from becoming a victim of online fraud.